A federal judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit against The New York Times filed by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, according to New York Times media reporter Sydney Ember.
“Nowhere is political journalism so free, so robust, or perhaps so rowdy as in the United States,” wrote U.S. District Court judge Jed Rakoff. “In the exercise of that freedom, mistakes will be made, some of which will be hurtful to others.
“If political journalism is to achieve its constitutionally endorsed role of challenging the powerful, legal redress by a public figure must be limited to those cases where the public figure has a plausible factual basis for complaining that the mistake was made maliciously, that is, with knowledge it was false or with reckless disregard of its falsity.”
“Here, plaintiff’s complaint, even when supplemented by facts developed at an evidentiary hearing convened by the Court, fails to make that showing.”
Palin had sued the newspaper in June over an editorial that had falsely portrayed her as inciting the shooting of Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords in 2011.
The editorial claimed there was a clear link between a map with crosshairs that was produced by Palin’s political action committee and the shooting of Giffords. The article was later corrected.
“What I wasn’t trying to say was that there was a direct causal link between this map and the shooting,” New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet testified earlier this month. “What I was concerned about was the overall climate of political incitement.”